The Scottish Co-operative Party has responded to a consultation on supporter involvement in football clubs launched by the Scottish Government. In its response the Party calls for greater fan ownership in Scottish football. It also argues that assets of the club, such as the name, colours and badge should be protected and should not be changed without agreement from the supporters.
“Supporters’ trusts should be given the right to buy at least 10% of the club at the point of any change in ownership. Ownership should be clear and transparent, with the actual ownership of a club being a matter of public record,” reads the response to the consultation.
The party is also in favour of giving supporters the right to govern their club but opposes any two-tier models of directorship. The Scottish Government should provide tax incentives to genuine supporter-owned clubs, adds the Party in its response.
The consultation, which runs until 15 January, is asking for opinions for developing legislation on a right to influence, a right to govern, a right to bid and a right to buy for supporters. A report on the consultation will be published within the next few months.
Launching the consultation in November, Minister for Sport Jamie Hepburn said: “The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring football supporters have the opportunity to be involved in the decision making and running of their football club wherever possible. I know some clubs already engage well with their fans, but I believe we can do more.
“Our consultation is seeking views on each of the main options to strengthen supporter involvement in clubs: a right to influence, a right to govern, a right to bid, and a right to buy. Football clubs occupy a special place in the hearts of supporters and communities in Scotland.”
Andrew Jenkin, head of Supporters Direct Scotland said the organisation, which represents over 30 supporter trusts from across Scotland, was looking forward to seeing the outcome of the consultation.
He said: “We truly believe supporters are vital to football in Scotland and their views should be listened to throughout all aspects of the game’s governance. For the last 15 years, Supporters Direct Scotland have been working towards further involving supporters within the ownership of clubs through democratic structures.
“We’re pleased that the Government is going to be taking on-board supporters’ views within this process and are happy to promote this opportunity to supporters to ensure their views are represented.”
In England the Localism Act of 2011 provides communities and supporter trusts the opportunity to safeguard their training grounds, stadiums and clubs.